33 Replies Latest reply on Jan 16, 2010 8:56 PM by able123

    AVCHD Conspiracy?

    Terrachild Level 1

      Here are the results of my tests to determine if AVCHD really is hard to edit with, or if that's just a rumor circulated by HDV and P2 competitors.

       

      My system is an i7 920

      A high end EVGA motherboard, currently notoverclocked for the purposes of this test.

      12 Gigs of Ram, aGeForce 9800 GTX graphics card

      Several 1 TB hard drives.

      I'll put the AVCHD files on the drive without the OS, or the scratch disk/cache.

       


      To avoid comparing apples to oranges, I've used the same clips in all of the side by side tests.

      I downloaded a sample AVCHD file with a 2.8 MB/sec data rate.

      I then converted the clip to P2 DVCPROHD with Adobe Media Encoder.

      The clip can be found here: http://www.highdefforum.com/high-definition-cameras-high-definition-camcorders/93837-new-c anon-hf-s100-delivered-tomorrow.html

       

      The first clip is #1 "Full wide shot"
      It is a simple outdoor scene, with no panning and zooming, of a waterway with some boats.

       


      Premiere Pro clip properties info:

       

      Type: MPEG Movie
      File Size: 31.7 MB
      Image Size: 1920 x 1080
      Pixel Depth: 32
      Frame Rate: 29.97
      Source Audio Format: 48000 Hz - compressed - Stereo
      Project Audio Format: 48000 Hz - 32 bit floating point - Stereo
      Total Duration: 00:00:11:15
      Average Data Rate: 2.8 MB / second
      Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.0

       


      Same fie converted to P2:
      Type: P2 Movie
      File Size: 158.0 MB
      Image Size: 1280 x 1080
      Pixel Depth: 32
      Frame Rate: 29.97
      Source Audio Format: 48000 Hz - 16 bit - Mono
      Project Audio Format: 48000 Hz - 32 bit floating point - Mono
      Total Duration: 00:00:11:15
      Average Data Rate: 13.7 MB / second
      Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.5

       


      Notice the data rate for the P2 clip is ~4.9 times higher!

       


      I set the program monitor to 50%, and Highest quality.
      I opened one sequence for each format.  Each with the correct settings for their respective clip.
      I monitored my CPU % Load meter to determine how much demand each test was placing on the system.
      The CPU % meter with nothing happening was usually lumbering along, around 2%
      I had no other big programs open.

       

      Because this is a test to see how easy it is use both formats, I didn't render out the timelines ever.

       

       

       

      Test #1 Clip playing forward butted up against clip playing backwards.
      Both Played forward fine, but the AVCHD version stuttered slightly playing backwards towards the end.

       

      Max. peak CPU percent with normal timeline play.
      AFCHD     forward = 28%

                      backwards = 48%

       

      P2            forward = 13%
                      backwards = 11%

       

       

       

      Test #2 Rapid scrubbing of the 2 timelines.

       

      Max. peak CPU percent.
      AFCHD      54%
      P2             25%

       

      Subjectively, the P2 clip scrubbed much more smoothly.  Fewer skips, and drop-outs.
      The audio dropped out frequently scrubbing the AFCHD

       

       

       

      Test #3
      Same clip overlayed at 50% opacity and 50% scale.  Both forwards and backwards.
      Same result: Both Played forward fine, but the AVCHD version stuttered slightly playing backwards towards the end.

       

      Max. peak CPU percent with normal timeline play.
      AFCHD     forward = 54%
                      backwards = 58%

       

      P2            forward = 25
                      backwards = 25%

       

       

       

      Test #4
      Same as #3, but the overlayed clip is now rotated with keframes through 360 degrees.

       

      AVCHD:  Playback was very uneven. 
                    Sometimes not too bad, but sometimes Video was choking with frequent lock-ups.
                    Scrubbing was not smooth, but not to bad either.  Lots of audio dropouts.
                    45% max CPU

       

      P2:         Playback was perfect
                    Scrubbing was smooth, with no audio dropouts.
                    23% max CPU

       


      Max. peak CPU percent with normal timeline play.

       

      AFCHD:     Both forwards and backwards.
                       Needle was swinging wildly at times, and it did hit 100% for a second.

       

      P2:            Very stable
                       forward = 32%
                       backwards = 33%

       

       

       

      Well at this point, I discontinued the tests, because it was clear that the load AVCHD puts on the system is clearly much higher.

      My tests set a very low bar, because the clip I chose had no panning or zooming at all.

       

      I tried the same sort of thing with a couple of other AVCHD clips.  One of them had rapid panning and zooming.  And even though these clips had a much lower data rate (840 KB/second, and 2MB/sec), a simple overlay involving these two clips would freeze up during the rapid camera movement.  The CPU meter was frequently in the 80 to 90 percent range.  And, although setting the program monitor to "Draft Quality" lowered the CPU percentage to the 70's it didn't improve the playback much.

       

      The p2 version of this test played fine even durring rapid panning and zooming.

       


      Now you can always render out the sequence.  That makes playback fine, but it slows your editing down enormously.

       

       

      Finally,
      Don't even think about converting to a  lossless codec like huffyuv.

      Look what that did to the file:

      It turned a 31.7 MB AVCHD file with an average Data Rate: 2.8 MB/second
      into a 781.6 MB AVI file with an Average Data Rate: 67.9 MB/second

       

      Huffyuv is an improvement over an uncompressed .avi at a file Size of 2.0 GB, with a data Rate: 178.0 MB/second, but none of those will play very well on my system, or I suspect anyone else's either.

       

       

       

      Conclusions:  The problem with conspiracies is, they are usually not true.
      Alas, that it the case here also.

       

      I have a pretty powerful system, and if I were doing complex effects with a native AVCHD clip, I would want to convert it to another format before editing.  Perhaps using a lower res. proxy would be a good solution in this case.

       

      However, for normal editing, it is more than possible to edit AVCHD, even with some simple effects, on a relatively high end system.

      Remember I didn't overclock to do these tests.  And although I'm using an i7 processor, it's only a 920.

       

      The P2 version of the same clip, despite a much higher data rate, truly was far superior.

       

       


      I hope this proves useful to some of you.

        • 1. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
          Terrachild Level 1

          Another option you have if you're using an AVCHD camera, like a Canon HF S100, is to capture right off the sensor, using the HDMI port on the camera.

           

          For on-set work, you can use a capture board, like the $199 Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro.  With this, you can bypass AVCHD compression completely and save your clips in whatever format you want.  You'll have better quality this way.  There are portable HDMI capture devices also.

          • 2. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
            Curt Wrigley Level 4

            Thank you for the detailed experement and report.

             

            I told you P2 edits like butter!  It is a joy to work with.

             

            The differences would be more dramatic on a system with less horsepower.   As you've noted one work around is to convert all the avchd footage to something else.  This is what FCP does (for example) as it imports footage; creates an intermediate format that is easier to Edit.

             

            Adobe's future solution is the Mercury Playback engine that leverages the video card gpu.  There is a video floating around that shows avchd being edited with this new engine very smoothly.

            • 3. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
              cfalcon Level 1

              Terra, this was a pretty impressive test that you have done.  Thank you for spending the time to do it.  I do have one question for you, when converting the AVCHD to a P2, how long did it take? If the clip was 11 seconds long, how long was the conversion to p2 in ratio, because I am curious as to which would be faster, conversion or capture?

              • 4. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                Terrachild Level 1

                That 11 sec. clip took 1 minute and 21 seconds to convert to P2 DVCProHD.

                Ouch!  Time to turn on overclocking on my motherboard.

                 

                Clearly capturing HDMI with the BlackMagic design board would be faster.

                 

                There is another issue though, the AVCHD Canon HF S100 captures full 1920 x 1080 with square pixels.  It's in the $700's now in price.  Wow, that's a great price, and you get full HD 1920 resolution, a 1/2" sensor and a new larger lense.  Also, check out the data rate, 24Mbps.  It's horizontal resolution is higher than the P2 format (1440) I used.

                 

                DVCPRO HD's use of anamorphic pixels makes the image appear with the same scren ratio, but the Canon is capturing more info.  You are throwing that away when you convert it to P2.

                 

                Obviously, if we can help it, we don't want to throw out perfectly good resolution.

                 

                Could someone here with more experience with HD please suggest a better editing format?

                 

                Thanks

                • 5. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                  Curt Wrigley Level 4

                  Dont forget how much information AVCHD compression throws away.  Look at the file size difference.  That is a lot of static and temporal compression (which is why its so hard to edit - you may have to examine many frames to rebuild or view a single frame)  Pixel count is not the only variable for a good end result.   AVCHD exists because flash memory is expensive.  If flash mem was fast, large and cheap; AVCHD would not have to exist.

                   

                  What format IS best?  That largely depends on your budget.  At the low end $500 - $4000 range is AVCHD and HDV.   Everything else is pretty much $5000 and up.

                  • 6. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                    Terrachild Level 1

                    Thanks Curt,

                    but let me rephrase, if I'm locked into AVCHD because of price, what format should I convert my AVCHD file to so I still have 1920 x 1080 and smooth editing?

                     

                    Is it possible to have both?

                     

                    I tried converting it to H.264 with Media Encoder to maintain my full Hd dimensions.

                    Here is what PP said for file properties after import:

                     

                    Type: XDCAM-EX Movie
                    File Size: 44.0 MB
                    Image Size: 1920 x 1080
                    Pixel Depth: 32
                    Frame Rate: 29.97
                    Source Audio Format: 48000 Hz - compressed - Stereo
                    Project Audio Format: 48000 Hz - 32 bit floating point - Stereo
                    Total Duration: 00;00;11;15
                    Average Data Rate: 3.8 MB / second
                    Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.0

                     

                    Notice I now have full 1920x 1080, and the data rate has bumped up a lot from the original AVCHD specs.

                    I subjected this new clip to the dual-layer overlayed rotating semi-transparent test from above.

                    This file seems to edit better than AVCHD.

                     

                    Is this a bad way to go?

                     

                    Any suggestions.....anyone....anyone?

                    • 7. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                      Terrachild Level 1

                      I guess it boils down to this:

                       

                      1) Should I use a proxy file to edit with, then replace it with the original AVCHD file for final render.

                       

                      Or,

                       

                      2) Should I convert the AVCHD to something else, and edit and output from that for the final render.

                       

                      In either case what would be a good format to use?

                       

                      Step 1 is more work because I'll have to go back and replace all the timeline clips with their original AVCHD version, but at least there is no degrading from converting to another file format.

                      • 8. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                        Curt Wrigley Level 4

                        I see now.  Yes; XDCAM hq would work.  I dont know what the most effecient vs easiest editing format would be.  P2 seems to me one the easiest hd formats to edit, but xdcam is also pretty good.   There are always tradeoffs.

                         

                        If you plan to convert all your avchd source a different format; it may be worth checking out some of the dedicated utilities folk have created for this task.   Those one purpose tools micght be faster converting than in and out or Pr.   Sry; I dont have a ton of expereiince converting avchd.

                         

                        Note; the future is HW assist with a cuda video card.  So, if you can limp though editing avchd native for now; you may like what the future holds.

                        • 9. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                          cfalcon Level 1

                          Again thanx to all of you for staying dedicated to this subject.  Could one of you clear this up for me?  I am looking at various cameras.  Some list the recording format as AVCHD (Canon HF 100)... and some (panasonic) list the format as High Definition MPEG/AVC H.264.  Are those the same format or is the panasonic listing what is also known as "P2"  Oh the details.  Cause it seems that if I had to buy a camera today to get the same results of AVCHD tomorrow, then I would probably go P2 if (and thats a BIG IF) I could find a P2 camera in the AVCHD price range.

                           

                          Also, does anyone know when CS5 is coming out and if its possible now to start building a machine capable of the HW Assistance (I forgot the name of it) that CS5 is capable of now?

                          • 10. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                            cfalcon Level 1

                            Oh who am I kidding?  I know the answer to the P2 question already and I am not a rich man.  So AVCHD is where it's at for me but if there has got to be a solution to editing AVCHD with more ease than what terra experienced.  Just not yet huh.  In essence, it is not practical to use AVCHD as a bases for a everyday use and quick turnaround.  And the time it takes converting it to P2 makes tapeless transfer useless.  Am I wrong?  Please tell me yes.  Would using a lower resolution (1440x1080) make it easier on the computer and Adobe?  I know CS5 will cure that but the wait is killing me.  So again, when is CS5 estimated to be available based on past delivery dates?

                            • 11. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                              Curt Wrigley Level 4

                              Bilateral Bow wrote:

                               

                                So again, when is CS5 estimated to be available based on past delivery dates?

                              Nobody can answer that accurately until Adobe makes an announcement.   You can make a educated guess based on past cycle times between releases.

                              • 12. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                Terrachild Level 1

                                Bilateral,

                                don't get discouraged.  I'm probably going to order up that Canon HF S100 tomorrow.  Based on what I've learned from doing these tests, I could edit on it with my system.  Will it be as smooth as editing DV?  No, but it is very doable.  I didn't spend a fortune on my system either.  I built it myself, ordering the parts online.  Mostly from Tiger Direct.

                                 

                                Also, my EVGA motherboard has something called "Dummy Overclock."  It does a conservative overclock of the system for you so you don't have to worry about all the settings yourself.  Turning that on, and switching to draft mode on the Program monitor made a big difference.  The timeline ran much better.  Those two things brought the max. CPU meter during playback down to around 15%.  And under 10% for most of the time.

                                 

                                In addition, you don't really need to edit with "Highest Quality" set in the program monitor.  "Draft" and "Automatic" look pretty good.  And once in awhile you can render out the timeline, run it at "Highest Quality" and playback will be perfect.

                                 

                                Here is a pic of the overlayed and rotating AVCHD test in the program monitor:

                                avchd test.jpg

                                 

                                Are you really going to be doing this sort of thing a lot?

                                 

                                I won't be.  And when I do, I can always edit with a lower resolution proxy file.  That's what people do in After Effects most of the time anyway.  It's really no big deal.

                                 

                                Chris

                                • 13. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                  cfalcon Level 1

                                  Well if I can, I will.  But the real draw is tapeless transfer.  I know that the tapeless option is availabe for easier formats but I am about to do a wholesale upgrade to my entire system (computer, cameras and software.)  In doing so, I want to make sure that I am at the top of the technology curve which includes HD and tapeless transfer.  As you know, doing this wholesale upgrade can be pricey.  AVCHD seems like such an economical solution especially when you are trying to produce projects with the highest quality and quickest delivery.  I know patience is key but waiting for better technology will only keep you waiting forever.

                                  • 14. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                    Curt Wrigley Level 4

                                    AVCHD is hardly at the top of the technology curve.  IT is great for home movies and will be easier to edit as computers get faster and SW starts to leverage GPU like Adobe is planning.   For today, if you buy into AVCHD you also have to accept the drawbacks.   Its good you are going in with your eyes open.

                                    • 15. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                      jrinks Level 1

                                      Very interesting reading, but you guys are too techie for me on the spec side.  Simple question - if I can drop $199 for a BlackMagic Intensity Pro card to download from camera to PC via an HMDI cable, why wouldn't I do that?

                                      • 16. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                        Terrachild Level 1

                                        I have to disagree a little about that home movie comment.

                                         

                                        I worked on the set for years in Hollywood.  Doing commercials and Movies, and I have to say these new AVCHD cameras like the Canon HF S100 produce images that are so crisp and clear, that all you really need to do to produce great looking work with them is:

                                         

                                        1) Use good lighting.  We spent endless hours lighting sets, sweating over the tiniest details.  That really is more important than the camera you use.

                                        2) Use good post-production tools like CS4 production.  Premiere and AE primarily.

                                        3) Learn the tools in them well.  Especially the color correction and balancing tools.

                                         

                                        If you do those three things you could produce content that would fool many people into thinking that you used a professional camera.  And I don't mean a $5000 one, a much more expensive one.

                                         

                                        And remember, you're not locked into AVCHD just because you use an AVCHD camera.  You can capture at much higher quality out the HDMI port.

                                         

                                        It's mostly skill now.

                                        Unfortunately, that's the hard part.  You have to crack the manuals page by page, and do every tutorial you can find.

                                        • 17. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                          Terrachild Level 1

                                          There is no reason why not.  Talk to the people at BlackMagic Design.  That is exactly what people are doing.

                                           

                                          The only drawback is your mobility.  You are tied to a computer.  But for most shoots, that really isn't a problem.  I think that possibility makes AVCHD cameras much more useful than people think.  Especially ones like the Canon I mentioned with the larger lens.

                                          • 18. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                            Andy Urtu Level 1

                                            Take a look at Cineform.  It converts AVCHD to and 4:2:2 (via interpolation) avi file using wavelet compression.   Has about the same data rate as P2 ( about 13-15MB a second)

                                            • 19. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                              Terrachild Level 1

                                              Jinks,

                                              you used the word "Download" using the HDMI port on the camera.  Let me just make sure you understand that you're not downloading previously shot footage.  You are capturing the live stream off the sensor as you shoot.

                                              • 20. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                Curt Wrigley Level 4

                                                jrinks wrote:

                                                 

                                                Very interesting reading, but you guys are too techie for me on the spec side.  Simple question - if I can drop $199 for a BlackMagic Intensity Pro card to download from camera to PC via an HMDI cable, why wouldn't I do that?

                                                If you can bungie cord a laptop to your camera and carry it around, that would work well.  My understanding is hdmi out is prior to compression only live.  If you are playing back already compressed avchd footage via hdmi, you arent gaining much.

                                                • 21. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                                  Curt,

                                                   

                                                  You are correct, you are not gaining anything, only losing. Once the signal is recorded, be it on tape (HDV) or memory card, disk or whatever, when you transfer those data over HDMI your only gain is that you lose all timecode and metadata like date and timestamp, exposure, shutter, etc. The only loss, apart from the previous things, is that the quality is still the same or less, not better.

                                                  • 22. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                    Curt Wrigley Level 4

                                                    It would provide a real time conversion of avchd to a more editable format.   But it is a good point that the "conversion" doesnt restore the significant data loss that occurs when compressed to avchd.

                                                    • 23. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                      Terrachild Level 1

                                                      As I said, this whole concept of capturing out the HDMI port is to use a lower-priced camera and get superior results by skipping AVCHD compression entirely, and capturing into a better format.  Better in terms of higher data rate, color space, editing ease, frame resolution, etc.

                                                       

                                                      True HD resolution (1920x1080), not some squeezed anamorphic, with any capture format you want (supported by the capture board) for less than $1000 for both camera and capture board.

                                                       

                                                      Don't you guys agree that would bring high quality footage to the masses?

                                                      • 24. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                        Curt Wrigley Level 4

                                                        You have to capture live to bypass avchd compression.   Since few people will teather a laptop to the camera in most situaltions this isnt going to happen.    If you do; you do bypass the avchd compression; but you are still using inferior glass/lens and low end electronics to capture the image.  The resolution is the same as high end cams, but the color range and dynamic range is going to a lot flatter than higher end cams.

                                                         

                                                        If you capture hdmi after compression; then all you are gaining is a faster conversion to a easie to edit format.   AVCHD has already stripped off a significant amount of color and range information.  Its better than importing AVCHD, and eaiser to edit, but its the same quality as the avchd that was recorded.

                                                         

                                                        AVCHD footage compared to SD footage just a couple years ago is amazing.  And its amazing that hd footage can come out of these pocket size cameras.   But comparing it to its professional counterparts today; it will be found lacking.

                                                         

                                                        You can make soup from chicken, but you cant make chicken from soup.

                                                        • 25. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                          Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                          Don't you guys agree that would bring high quality footage to the masses?

                                                           

                                                          Sure, but it does not work that way.

                                                           

                                                          Don't you guys agree that driving cars without fuel would be better for the environment?

                                                           

                                                          Sure, but that does not work either.

                                                           

                                                          Most consumer cameras have the DSP in front of the HDMI chip (easy to check with the electronics diagram of the camera) and therefore can only transfer compressed material, that is already heavily compromised in quality.

                                                           

                                                          Don't believe me? Another easy check: What is the bandwidth of your HDMI connection: 1.4+ Gbps (like HD-SDI) or 25 Mbps?

                                                           

                                                          HDMI is a marketing hype and has no value for editors.

                                                          1 person found this helpful
                                                          • 26. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                            Terrachild Level 1

                                                            Harm, you are a major wet blanket.

                                                            That's why we need you here!

                                                            I gave you some helpful answer points for that.

                                                             

                                                            I had previously spoken to someone at BlackMagic Design about the Intensity Pro.

                                                            I believe I was mislead.

                                                             

                                                            I contacted Canon, and spoke with somone from tech support.  He was very upfront about all the limitations of these cameras.

                                                            Here is what he said:

                                                             

                                                            1) None of the hard-drive, or flash drive video cameras will output uncompressed streaming live video.  None!

                                                             

                                                            2) The HDMI port has been limited to playback only.  Gee thanks Canon.  And although playback is at a higher data rate then AVCHD, the camera is only re-creating a signal from the compressed file on the flash drive.  Obviously it's making up data to fill the gaps.

                                                             

                                                            3) Even if you switch to an hv40, which does stream live out the firewire port, the data rate is only 25mbps.

                                                            The tech support guy claimed this was uncompressed, but he could not explain why the data rate was so low.  I kept asking him about color space limiting and any other thing I could think of to explain the limited bandwidth, but he kept saying that the 25 mbps signal was all that was available for export, and that it was not compressed.  It was not limited by the firewire bandwidth, which is much higher.

                                                             

                                                            4) You must get something like an XLH1 series, or an XHG1 series to get the 1.5 gigabyte HD-SDI output for live video.

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            Conclusions:

                                                            Obviously Canon has intentionally limited the HDMI signal to preserve sales for the Pro series cameras.

                                                             

                                                            You can not, repeat CAN NOT capture right of the sensor and bypass the AVCHD compression by using a capture board with the HDMI terminal.

                                                             

                                                            Be careful listening to capture card reps.  They do not always give you accurate information!

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            The good news is that AVCHD is now up to 24 Mbps.  That's not bad, and is a big improvement over earlier generation AVCHD cameras.

                                                            Also, you do get full 1920x1080 resolution with the Canon HF S100.  Not some phony, squeezed anamorphic, 1440 horizontal resolution, simulation of 1920 width.

                                                             

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            Now back to my original question.  What format should we convert these AVCHD files to for easier editing.  Remember we want to preserve the original 1920x1080 resolution.  When I try to convert to  P2 with Adobe Media Encoder, the DVCPROHD presets don't offer 1920x1080.  I was told they exist, but they aren't on the list.  What to do?

                                                            • 27. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                              Terrachild Level 1

                                                              Hold on everyone, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

                                                              I just got off the phone with someone from Convergent Design, he was very knowledgeable, and has information directly conflicting with the tech support guy at Canon.  I'm in the process of verifying it now.  I will get back with, hopefully accurate, information as soon as possible.

                                                              • 28. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                                cfalcon Level 1

                                                                Ive been along for the ride for a while now, but Terra I agree.  When it comes down to it, what the eye sees is what the eye gets.  HDMI may not have value to editors or professionals with clients but it surely has value to consumers, if not, they wouldn't put it on the camera.  Terra also made a good point about environmental and editorial technique.  I appreciate all of you "techies" as one called it, (Harm, Curt, Terra) really having an open, honest discussion on this issue.  There has been alot learned.

                                                                • 29. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                                  Level 4

                                                                  Hi,

                                                                   

                                                                  Chris, that picture has a moran tugboat in it, are you in nyc?  What did you do on sets in CA ?  I'm a grip in NYC..and looking into buying a camera to shoot video so I've been following this thread...Good going on following through with the information, it's appreciated.

                                                                   

                                                                  Rod

                                                                  • 30. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                                    Terrachild Level 1


                                                                    That picture wasn't taken by me.  I think the video came from Florida.

                                                                    When I worked on the set, I did pretty much everything in front of the camera except acting.  Art department (set dressing, and props) special f/x building (computer controlled electro-mechanical devices), and computer graphics.  90 hour work weeks killed my back, and I had to stop.  Thus, the foray into video now.

                                                                     

                                                                    Well, I've spend many hours on this one, and I am reasonably satisfied that it is settled.  I only say reasonably because I want to perform a test myself when I get my hands on everything. I spoke to three different people at Convergent Design.  They make a small handy device that let's you capture out the HDMI port right to solid state memory.  It's called the NanoFlash.  This device is useful even with pro cameras like the Ex1.  You will get a higher quality picture with it, rather than from the internal codec storage.  Here is an example:

                                                                    convergent design.jpg

                                                                    A little hard to see here.  Go to their website to see a larger version: http://www.convergent-design.com/default.asp

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    Notice how much less noise there is capturing out the HD-SDI jack.  And although it doesn't show in this example, the color space has switched from native 4:2:0 to the better4:2:2.  More on that later.

                                                                     

                                                                    Yes, I know this is with a pro camera, but hold your horses Harm.

                                                                     

                                                                    I told the guys there that canon said you can't capture out the HDMI jack with flash based cameras. They told me that just isn't true.  They work with canon and got an HF S10 to test from Canon last year and said that there is uncompressed video out the HDMI jack with a live feed.  And they use the HF S10 all the time to test with.  Geez Canon, don't you guys even know how your camera works!!!

                                                                    Convergent Design said that their device works with it, and that the you can capture 4:2:2 color with it.  They explained that there is no compressed video out HDMI.  I asked the question nine ways from Sunday, but they kept repeating that the signal does no pass through a compression algorithm before going out the HDMI jack, or the component jack.

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    I then called BlackMagic Design back and spoke to another tech person there, and he added that if you playback the file in the same camera, because the file goes back to the same chip, which uses the same algorithm to uncompress it that was used to compress it, even though picture has been round-tripped through the AVCHD codec, you get a better picture out the HDMI jack then you do if you move the file to your computer.  Interesting, although it's only a small difference in quality.  Not enough for me to bother with.

                                                                    He also said the live component output is uncompressed and that you can capture uncompressed with 4:2:2 color from that signal with the Intensity pro board.

                                                                     


                                                                    Now on to some examples:
                                                                    I came across some people on the Internet who are doing it.
                                                                    Here is a side by side example of a simultaneous recording to AVCHD file in the camera, and out the HDMI jack of a Sony SR11 with a laptop, using the BlackMagic Design board, and Cineform software:

                                                                    http://vimeo.com/3731269

                                                                     

                                                                    The color sure looks better!

                                                                     

                                                                    The same guy tried to use the HDMI output on the HF S10, but found the Canon didn't handshake properly with the Intensity Pro.  Canon might have done this intentionally.  He found a work-around by using an EDID/CEC selector found here: http://www.cypeurope.com/Xaminer/XA-S11-EDID/CEC-Selector.html?keyword=edid


                                                                    Before he solved that problem he used the Intensity Pro to capture the component HD signal from the Canon.  Here is an example: http://www.vimeo.com/4376588

                                                                     


                                                                    How does he achieve such great depth of field with a video camcorder?
                                                                    He uses the SGblade 35mm adapter: http://www.shoot35.com/
                                                                    wow! I want one of these!!!

                                                                     

                                                                    Here is another depth of Field example: http://www.vimeo.com/6510324

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    Although there are more expensive, and more portable ways to capture either the component or HDMI signal, like the NanoFlash, here is his DIY method: http://vimeo.com/4083139

                                                                     

                                                                    His work is very impressive, but I still want to see a good motion test like the one that CamcorderInfo.com does: http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-S10-Camcorder-Review-37333/Motion-amp -Sharpness-Performance.htm

                                                                     

                                                                    I have found other people who claim to be doing this with the Intensity Pro.  Can they all be fooled?
                                                                    I haven't seen any objective proof yet.

                                                                     

                                                                    A simultaneous capture to AVCHD and to the Intensity Pro with a good motion test should once and for all demonstrate the lack of AVCHD motion artifacts with this capture process.  I may have to do it myself when I get all the necessary equipment, because even tech support at Canon is misinforming people.  I don't trust them now.

                                                                     

                                                                     

                                                                    Chris

                                                                    • 31. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                                      Level 4

                                                                      Hi

                                                                       

                                                                      Yes, the hours sometimes are really bad news...  I find that more so as I get older...just don't want to hump dollies up and down stairs after 14 hours ...ugh....


                                                                      Or ANY equipment, come to think of it...




                                                                      I try to work 2nd unit stuff if I can, on the dolly, as it is usually less fraught and better hours and all that...more fun ...but I have to admit this is a young man's business and the outcry for my help is not as loud as it used to be...especially with guys I used to work with retiring or getting disabled or dying...sometimes I am now the oldest crew member on the crew now....geez....you know you've had it when your fellow crewmembers are callling you " sir ".

                                                                       

                                                                      I don't know where you're at but if you're still in LA area why not go to the rental houses and see if you can use some of their stuff to test out some of what you want to do ???  Some of the rental houses (camera) are pretty cool...ex-local 600 guys running the shops, ex crew I mean...and pretty helpful etc...  I don't mean the camera so much, as they will probably only have high end stuff, but everything else...

                                                                       

                                                                      Rod

                                                                      • 32. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                                        TomInJax Level 1

                                                                        Hi robodog2,

                                                                         

                                                                        Right after I bought my HFS 100, someone asked me for some video samples.  I made that video and a couple others in Jacksonville, Florida last year with my HFS 100 as test footage.  The view is from the south side of the St. Johns river, under the Main Street bridge.

                                                                         

                                                                        Very interesting thread!  Thanks Rod for bringing it to my attention!

                                                                         

                                                                        -Tom

                                                                        • 33. Re: AVCHD Conspiracy?
                                                                          Level 4

                                                                          Hi TominJax,

                                                                           

                                                                          Nice shot..looks like a nice spot...  Wow...I didn't realize you are who you ARE !  haha..what a small world !

                                                                           

                                                                          lol

                                                                           

                                                                          Good going on the shot...nice detail in the shadow under bridge, clouds not blown out...pretty !

                                                                           

                                                                          And a Moran tugboat !  My favorite tugboat people !

                                                                           

                                                                          Rod